You ready to have a heart to heart? Because I sure am.
One of the most important lessons (philosophies, mantras, what have you) that I have gathered from my time here on this planet is that YOU are solely responsible for your own happiness. That’s right. YOU.
I know, crazy. Right? But so often, we blame the world for our problems, our mishaps and complain about “why isn’t my life more like this… or why can’t I?” If you’re saying to yourself right now, “Pshhh… I never do that, what is this crazy girl talking about?” Maybe you need to take a step back and be a little more real with yourself.
So yes, you are your own knight in shining armor. You are the one who can make your dreams come true. Cliché enough? Just wait.
This whole “HAPPINESS” thing that people keep talking about – the one that is alluded to when you say, “Oh yeah, I’m good, I’m fine.” Are you really? Are you really, really fine? Because if there is a part of you inside that is kicking and screaming for something more, something deeper – there is a part of you that is craving a missing piece, a missing ingredient that is essential to your happiness.
Okay… so you admit to yourself, that yeah, I’m good today and things are fine, but you’re very complacent. Things just are. Woo, exciting. NO! It shouldn’t be like that. Every human being is gifted with a certain amount of time on this planet and each day that you are alive should be something magnificent and wonderful. Some new discovery that makes you smile and see the world in a whole new way.
So how do you do this?
Figure out what YOUR DREAMS ARE. What is it in the back of your mind that you daydream about or think “maybe one day… or when the time is right…”
Realize that THE TIME IS NOW. If there is a part of you that wants to be an actress, a fashion designer, a marine biologist or live in another country – START NOW. Enroll in an acting class, learn how to sew, take a scuba lesson or start learning a new language. It doesn’t have to be all at once, but as long as you are striving for something and not putting things on the back-burner for “someday”, these little bits of preparation will help make that a reality.
LIVE WITH A VISION and then it is so easy to differentiate between what is excess and what is necessary. This ties into figuring out what your dreams are. Are you still talking to or dating that bad-boy type that you know is terrible but you keep around anyway? We’ve all been there, I get it. But if he is not part of the grand plan or what you want your life to be, don’t invest the time! Where, how and who you spend your time with is key. Find those spirits that also seek to grow and surround yourself with those individuals – each of you will benefit as you encourage each other to become the best that you can be.
In order to find those individuals, you need to DIG DEEPER. Have you ever been out traveling and taken to mysterious underground tunnels, unsure of where they may lead? Abundant with rocks, pitch black darkness and a guide who has a small light to illuminate the path. It may be extremely frightening to enter into the unknown, with no idea of which way to turn… But it is only once you go deep, that you are presented with marvelous stalagmites and precious gems. In life, you have to dig deeper to see the wonderful, WE ARE NOT CALLED TO STAY ON THE SURFACE.
Approach situations in a new light and SEE THE BEAUTY IN EVERYTHING. One of my all time favorite and eye-opening classes that I have taken was an acting course that focused on being here and now, reacting to everything and seeing each thing for the first time. When walking around, take the time to put away your cell phone and really look at the world around you. Examine the leaves rustling in the trees, the bees buzzing from each zealous flower and the clouds swirling in the sky. Pretend that you are a child and seeing the world for the first time, each and every thing a completely new experience. Take the time to really look and really enjoy, there is so much beauty in this world that we take for granted simply because we “don’t have the time.”
On that note, MAKE THE TIME. This is one thing that I still struggle with — balancing a schedule and figuring out where my priorities lie. There are so many darn cool things to do, but sometimes you have to realize that you can’t do everything. Okay, you can do a lot of things, but be realistic and don’t try to cram everything into one day and then get down on yourself for not working hard enough or something like that… If it is important to you, YOU WILL MAKE THE TIME. This means that maybe you should spend less time checking Instagram/Facebook/Twitter (guilty) and more time reading that book, painting that picture, learning chords on guitar or going for a run. If you catch yourself saying, “Oh, I can’t right now… I don’t have the time,” evaluate your priorities and create a schedule for yourself.
Lastly, DO YOU. Reiterating the previous statement that “your dreams are now” and “live with a vision,” do not concern yourself with petty thoughts or what people might think. The absolute coolest people that I know are the ones that really go after what they want and do not worry about the opinions of others. The ones that are not afraid to fail at something (say an audition or developing a clothing line) because I whole-heartedly believe that EVERYTHING HAPPENS FOR A REASON AND SOMETHING GOOD COMES OUT OF EVERYTHING. So say you aren’t the next Madonna, Lady Gaga, Britney Spears… whoever, you TRIED and that is the coolest thing ever. To have the courage to go after something you want and not wait for a flashing neon sign – do what makes you happy and the rest will follow.
These photos were taken at Monet’s Garden in Giverny, France. About 45 minutes outside of Paris – leaving from Gare St. Lazare. My mom and I took the train to Vernon and then hopped on a bus to Claude’s famous garden. (The price for one roundtrip ticket is about 55 euros and then the bus fare — which leaves directly from the train station to his residence is 4 euros roundtrip/each person). The village is absolutely exquisite with old cottages dotting the roads and cute antique shops. Inside the commune is an Impressionist museum as well as beautifully designed gardens full of vibrant flowers (aside from Monet’s Japanese garden), and an old church.
As an art history lover and a huge fan of Monet, I was filled with absolute joy to see the area that inspired him to paint such magnificent works of art. Also — on par with the above, MONET FOLLOWED HIS DREAMS and did what he wanted to do! There were times in his life where he was incredibly poor and didn’t always know how to pay his rent or for his next meal, but he lived with his vision, made the time and succeeded in making his dreams a reality. Inspirational, no?
Anyways, the Japanese garden is open for viewing — we were there on a weekend so there were quite a few people. If possible, I’d highly suggest coming here on a weekday and earlier in the morning to avoid the crowds. After seeing the sights where Monet painted his final masterpieces, we were welcomed into his lovely home filled with many pieces of his artwork as well as those imported from Japan. *Japan opened its ports to the rest of the world in the latter half of the 19th century and Japanese art became very *in vogue* soon after. As evidenced with the bright colors that Van Gogh played with, the abundance of bathing pictures by Degas and of course, Monet’s Water Lilies.
On the designers: Working on a transcribing a wonderful interview with Joy of Communion by Joy who I met with while still in Los Angeles! She designed the stunning gold necklace seen above. (Greatly appreciating her patience as I’ve been figuring out how to balance blogging + moving to Paris and school!) She’s got a thing or two to say about committing to following your dreams and digging deeper.
DAWN is another killer Los Angeles brand that is OFF THE CHARTS with its coolness factor. Model turned designer, Christy Dawn, grew up in a small old-timey town in California and her vintage designs are directly influenced by where she grew up. Queen of cool, Christy would always be sporting vintage frocks out and about and her circle of friends couldn’t help but notice. Christy decided to turn a hobby/passion into something more and dove into designing some of the raddest dresses I have seen in a while. Using only dead-stock fabric (meaning NOBODY else will have the same prints) they produce a limited number of pieces to create some truly unique and eye-catching designs.
All images by GAYLE DAWN PHOTOGRAPHY